It’s been a really (really) hot summer. Fall is just around the corner, but — in many parts of the country — temperatures remain at record highs.

GAF is leading an initiative to be a part-of-the-solution with their Cool Community Project. It’s a creative concept that not only positions the company as a good corporate neighbor… but also allows them to showcase their technological prowess. And a key feature of their products.

Helping Communities

The basic idea behind the Cool Community Project is to treat certain surfaces — typically asphalt — with a solar-reflective paint. Parking lots, playgrounds, and even portions of streets are being coated in sunny, warm-weather locations like Los Angeles. Where the most severe ever temperatures were recorded in September… and California’s governor called it the “hottest and longest on record” for the month.

The intent is to help mitigate the “heat island” effect… in which urban areas get significantly warmer than the surrounding countryside. This happens because these areas have fewer trees and shade. And a lot more pavement. Which tends to absorb energy from the sun.

The coating in question is not simply a lighter color than black asphalt. It also has particles that reflect infra-red radiation. So far, anecdotal evidence suggests the initiative is working. Treated surfaces have registered as much as 30 degrees cooler than non-treated surfaces. That’s a dramatic shift.

Time will tell how much of a larger environmental impact this initiative will have. But, in our view, the degree to which it’s working… isn’t even the best part.

Having Fun With It

When taking on a project like this… the easiest approach would have been to throw a light coat of paint on the surfaces and call it a day. But that’s not what GAF did.

Instead, the brand decided to have some fun with it. For many of the applications, artists were commissioned to develop clever designs for the parking lots and playgrounds that were being treated.

This strategy accomplished two things:

First, it allowed GAF to showcase that their technology is about much more than light colors. The solar-reflective particles in their coatings let audiences consider different colors that typically aren’t thought of as being solar-reflective… including darker blues and reds.

Second, and more importantly, the project was highly engaging. What were once dull, drab asphalt surfaces are now beautiful, unique designs that reflect the personality of the community. The designs instill pride among the residents. And make the facilities they adorn much more attractive.

Best of all, the highly visual nature of the project allowed GAF to garner lots of publicity — and channel recognition — for their effort.

Lending Expertise

As a leading provider of roofing products for residential construction and replacement, GAF knows that one of their customers’ key priorities is a roof that reduces the searing heat that can make HVAC bills skyrocket… something that’s clearly top-of-mind for many people these days.

By delivering the Cool Community Project, GAF is sharing its expertise to become part of a solution. To a very big problem. And, in the process, they are showing their customers that they care… and what they can do for them.

We think that’s a pretty cool idea.

Looking to create some cool campaigns for your brand? We’d love to help. Send an email to to get the conversation started.